In a statement today, Rep. Heath Shuler declared his support for placing the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site on the national Superfund list. Shuler praised residents of the area and local activists, stating he’d work for a full cleanup “as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”
After years of complaints by area residents to local, state and federal officials about contamination stemming from the site and leaking into nearby groundwater, the Environmental Protection Agency declared March 8 that it will propose adding the site to the National Priorities List, better known as the Superfund program. Activists and residents have harshly criticized the EPA for what they have viewed as a negligently slow response to the dangers posed by the contamination.
“For the past several years I have been honored to work with the concerned and dedicated residents of this area, led by Tate McQueen and Barry Durand, in their efforts to clean up the former CTS site and ensure the health and safety of the entire community,” Shuler says in his statement. “The community leaders made a strong argument to me that remediation needed to be handled by the EPA, and at their request I have worked with EPA to achieve that designation.”
“I am pleased that the hard work of the community has now paid off and the EPA is proposing the site for the National Priority List, which will provide the authority needed to more fully address important needs still facing the site, especially the treatment of groundwater contamination,” the statement continues. “Without an NPL listing EPA currently does not have the ability to take this and other vital steps needed for cleanup.”
— David Forbes, senior news reporter